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Obama Says Midterm Defeat 'Feels Bad,' but Compromise With GOP Is Possible

3 years ago
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President Obama extended an olive branch to congressional Republicans Wednesday, conceding that the midterm defeat "feels bad," but vowing to work with the new GOP leadership in the House to seek collaborative solutions on issues such as the Bush tax cuts, energy legislation and the federal deficit.

"I do believe there is hope for civility. I do believe there's hope for progress," Obama said during a White House news conference. "Our first allegiance as citizens is not to party or region or faction, but to country -- because while we may be proud Democrats or proud Republicans, we are prouder to be Americans."

But for those expecting a president admonished by significant Congressional and gubernatorial losses, Obama offered little in the way of regret. He acknowledged that his administration had not done enough to change the politics of "business as usual" in Washington, saying, "We were in such a hurry to get things done that we didn't change how things were done."


Obama also suggested that his administration had quickly pushed through so much landmark legislation -- including health care reform and the federal stimulus -- without adequate explanation that it left many Americans with the impression that government had become "much more intrusive." But the president maintained that he did not want to "relitigate" the debates of the past -- including those over health care -- and would instead focus on incremental and specific amendments (including a controversial 1099 provision in the health care bill).

If the president struck any emotional posture in the hourlong press conference, it was one of weary acceptance: for the next two years the administration will be forced to contend with an emboldened GOP that is likely to cede little ground on the White House agenda. Obama called for an "honest and civil debate" between the two parties, and reminded the country -- and certainly those on the other side of the aisle -- that "no one party can dictate where we go from here."

Outlining his specific priorities in the coming months, Obama focused on extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class, comprehensive energy reform, the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy and the extension of unemployment insurance. He argued that some priorities traditionally garnered bipartisan support, citing education reform, investment in clean technology and infrastructure development.

Throughout his remarks, Obama said it was the economy -- rather than White House policy -- that brought about such widespread losses for the Democrats. Noting that the unemployment rate is still too high and that job creation is still too sluggish, the president said that the midterm results "confirmed that people are frustrated."

Citing his oft-delivered metaphor about the country's economy being akin to that of a car stuck in a ditch, Obama said, "I don't think anybody denies they think we're in a ditch" and that rather than putting the car into 'D' (as in Democrat) or 'R' (as in Republican), he said, "I think what you can argue is we're stuck in neutral."

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Carol Ann

Oh, NOW he wants to compromise??? And he wants to extend an olive branch to the Republicans??? Too late, Obama. You've lost the trust of the American people and you'll never win it back. Your socialist agenda just wasn't swallowed by the great USA. And you thought it would be easy. Sorry. You lose.

November 04 2010 at 9:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
revivalman

Compromise with the Republicans has been possible since day one of the Obama administration. But he quickly proved to be a non-compromising ideologue determined to push an agenda of repressed Progressive ideas upon the American public. America has now said that's not what we wanted or needed. Unfortunately, all Obama did in his post-election address was give lip service to the defeat of the Democratic party, but I doubt he will change his approach.

November 04 2010 at 9:14 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
amercit

There was no room for compromise by the Dems before the midterm elections.It was their way and their way only. They bashed the repubs and called them the enemy, they were arrogant and Obama kept reminding us that he won the election so it would be done his way. Now he wants to work with us??? The repubs. were the "PARTY OF NO" because they were listening to the American People. The people were saying "NO". The Republicans had better stand firm with NO compromise,Because this time WE won the Election.

November 04 2010 at 8:57 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rednmora

The Democrats lost because they supported The President's unwanted policies. They didn't listen to those who put them in office in the first place. The American people kept saying they didn't want what He was pushing for, but neither they nor the President listened or believed them.

November 04 2010 at 8:12 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
nokabosh

Obama the narcisist naturaly feels bad -- he's the victim in his mind. His plans to transform the nation to socialism have been stopped. He's running off to India instead of working on the nation's problems. That little junket will cost the taxpayers over $200M. Today, he had a meeting with his cabinet (televised) trying to control the agenda with Congress for the next couple of months. Look for him to issue illegal executive orders to get around Congress. And for Reid to try and pass the dem's lame brain left-wing agenda during the lame duck Congress. Repubs will fight them hand-to-hand in the halls of Congress. If they don't get this country back on track they too will be voted out.

November 04 2010 at 12:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
TheNDN

Yeah, it feels so bad he's still planning on taking another 2-3 billion dollar trip the 6th of November on our tax dollars. http://www.dakotavoice.com/2010/10/the-entire-taj-mahal-hotel/

November 04 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jesuschrstislove

Lets not forget who created this mess Bush and Company . Lets not forget who had no problems with spending before President Obama took office Republicans. So blame Obama thats the easy way out . His healthcare Bill is not what People wanted that I agree .It should have been the Public Option. Progressives are not happy with Obama for alot of reason now. Obama's first mistake coming into office was trying to please the Republicans instead of pleasing the American People who voted for him. I like Obama but he needs to be less middle of the road and more Progressive and willing to fight the Republicans and those who oppose change in this country and want to go back to the stoneage.

November 04 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jesuschrstislove's comment
bouncerdave2006

that will never happen

November 04 2010 at 3:04 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
jesspf15

There's plenty of evidence to blame Clinton for Bush's problems so lets not go there..

November 04 2010 at 6:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Charles

Obama's only excuse is "the dog ate my homework!! He still doesn't get it!

November 04 2010 at 12:45 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
krayerd

President Obama doesn't get it. As a Great past president once said,"It's the economy stupid" can be applied in his case.Once we get the economy going more smoothly the Country will straighten itself out.And the stimulus was a joke. Good jobs are not government sector but private sector initiated and they, once made will be lasting jobs that will be here in years to come and Americans can retire out of them. And he would be wise to do away with these outlandish Government pensions and replace then with 401K"s like any major business out there has done.

November 04 2010 at 12:43 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Glenn Kromminga

Fix the economy & jobs or it will be "throw the bums out" again in 2012!!!

November 04 2010 at 12:42 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Glenn Kromminga's comment
ghew

This is the BEST post of all! AGREE, if Obama, the incumbants, and the new group of legislatures don't get it right this time vote them out along in 2012!

November 04 2010 at 6:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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